Toughie 1123

Toughie No 1123 by Micawber

Lovely Jubbly!

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment *****

It’s always a pleasure to have a Micawber Toughie to blog on a Wednesday and this is another very enjoyable one.

Your views, as always, are most welcome.

Across Clues

1/5a  On paper, wage linked to performance of duty gives commendation — but not really (4,3,7)
{PAYS LIP SERVICE} – a piece of paper showing what one’s earned followed by the carrying out of one’s duty.

5a  See 1a

9a  Ends strange afterthought (5)
{RUMPS} – an adjective meaning strange and an afterthought in a letter.

10a  Forecast for islands — westerly air coming in (9)
{PROGNOSIS} – a preposition meaning for or in favour of and the two-letter abbreviation for islands with an air or tune reversed (westerly, in an across clue) inside.

11a  Dissembling, grouses dreadfully over censure (4,6)
{SOUR GRAPES} – an anagram (dreadfully) of GROUSES containing a verb to censure or rebuke.

12a  You are on the phone with head of entertainment — a waste (4)
{UREA} – the way that ‘you are’ may be rendered in textspeak followed by E(ntertainment) and A (from the clue).

14a  Despicable company gets half-hearted bite after introducing lure (12)
{CONTEMPTIBLE} – the abbreviation for company is followed by a small bite without one of its middle letters (half-hearted) with a verb to lure or entice inserted.

18a  Being this, watched out? On the contrary! (6-6)
{ABSENT-MINDED} – we want a verb meaning watched or kept an eye on and an adverb meaning out or away, but ‘on the contrary’ means that we have to swap their order before writing in the answer.

21a  Made cubes, topped (or not) (4)
{ICED} – a verb meaning made cubes (of food, say) without its initial letter (topped) leaves us with a different verb which also means made cubes (for drinks this time).

22a  Key points: ‘Scuttling … silent seas’ (10)
{ESSENTIALS} – an anagram (scuttling) of SILENT SEAS. In case you can’t recall the literary reference it’s from The Love Story of J Alfred Prufrock by T S Eliot.

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas

25a  Signer will give this pat, a rough translation (9)
{AUTOGRAPH} – an anagram (translation) of PAT A ROUGH.

26a  Direct this way or that (5)
{REFER} – no matter which way round you read it the answer means to direct.

27a  I use net in jacuzzi here? (2,5)
{EN SUITE} – an anagram (in jacuzzi, i.e. being swirled about) of I USE NET. My initial thought was that the definition was just ‘jacuzzi here?’ but that would have jacuzzi doing double duty so I’ve opted for the whole clue being the definition. What do you think?

28a  Perhaps express suspicion over  fortress (7)
{REDOUBT} – double definition. The BRB has this as an archaic verb meaning to fear but it’s being used here as a made-up verb (hence the perhaps) meaning to express suspicion once more.

Down Clues

1d  Survey area by Bolivia NW? (6)
{PERUSE} – a bit of South American geography knowledge required here. Adjacent to the North-West part of Bolivia is a region of a different country.

2d  You and me repeatedly missing out on seconds — it’s delicious! (3-3)
{YUM-YUM} – remove the second letters from ‘you’ and ‘me’ then repeat what remains.

3d  Fall behind circle in university, having been through the mill? (4,6)
{LOSE GROUND} – insert the circular letter in one of the colleges of the University of London then add the description of what has literally been through the mill.

4d  Oscar’s neighbour collecting uniform in Pacific island region (5)
{PAPUA} – one of the adjacent codewords to Oscar in the Nato Phonetic alphabet with the letter for which uniform is used in the same alphabet inserted.

5d  Spinner’s being this (9)
{SPOKESMAN} – put together a constituent part of a wheel (spinner) plus the ‘S and a human being.

6d  High  status (4)
{RANK} – double definition, high in the sense of going off.

7d  Write home (home being in Home Counties?) (8)
{INSCRIBE} – an adverb meaning at home, then a slang term for a home inside the region of the UK where the Home Counties are situated.

8d  Save and lend variously, subject to bond (8)
{ENSLAVED} – an anagram (variously) of SAVE and LEND.

13d  About time secret revolutionary socialist showed rapport with the people? (6,4)
{STREET CRED} – an anagram (revolutionary) of SECRET containing T(ime), all followed by an informal description of a socialist or communist.

15d  Schedule of action — having left out last contents of kettle, add tea, I say (9)
{TIMESCALE} – what may be in your kettle after a lot of use (depending on the water where you live) minus the L (having left out) but with the addition of the letter that sounds like (I say) tea.

16d  Steep tumble in a dream (8)
{MARINADE} – an anagram (tumble) of IN A DREAM.

17d  It’s heat-resistant and most effective in an emergency (8)
{ASBESTOS} – a superlative meaning most effective goes inside an emergency (1,3).

19d  Macho, getting in a tailspin suffering from this? (3,3)
{MAN FLU} – this is a serious complaint that half the population may stoically endure with scarcely any moaning. Start with an adjective meaning macho or courageous and reverse the last two letters (getting in a tailspin).

20d  Priest presented as wit (6)
{ESPRIT} – an anagram (presented) of PRIEST.

23d  Number three variable (5)
{ETHER} – another anagram (variable) of THREE.

24d  Fruit of regular visits to bungaloid (4)
{UGLI} – visit bungaloid on a regular basis and pull out just the even letters. I’d never heard of a bungaloid but it is apparently a house resembling a bungalow – I’m not sure how a house can resemble a bungalow without actually being a bungalow.

As usual with Micawber my difficulty in listing my favourites is that there are too many. I’ll just select 21a, 1d, 2d, 4d and 19d. How about you?



  1. crypticsue
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    I agree with everything Gazza says apart from his difficulty rating

    Thanks to Micawber for a great start to Wednesday and to gazza for the review

  2. Only fools
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Great fun and not an obscurity in sight ! favourite 19d as I am only just recovering ,or was it 18a ?
    Cheers Micawber and Gazza .

  3. Pegasus
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    The usual abundance of enjoyment from the maestro, favourites were 2d 5d 18a and 19d thanks to Micawber and to Gazza for the review.

  4. WhirredPLAY
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    I had Spiderman for 5d so struggled with 10a .. re 27a I presumed Jacuzzi was doubling up as an anagram indicator alongside indicating what might be found

    • Miffypops
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

      I too had spidermen and changed it to sportsmen before settling on the answer

  5. gazza
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    Messinae tomorrow.

  6. Kath
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this very much but it has taken me a very long time – so long that I’d get away with saying just how long as it couldn’t possibly discourage anyone.
    I’ve finally finished it apart from needing a couple of explanations.
    I liked 9 and 10a and 2d. My favourite, (apart from the photo of the poor soul) was 19d.
    With thanks to Micawber and gazza.

  7. 2Kiwis
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    Lovely stuff from start to finish. About the right difficulty level for us and loads of laughs along the way.
    Many thanks Micawber and Gazza.

  8. halcyon
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    Nice steady solve. Liked 10a [which eliminated spiderman for 5d], 12a and the simplicity of 23d.
    Re 27a – I took “here” to be the definition, with “in jaccuzi” as the rather dodgy anag indicator. But on reflection it does work as an all in one.

    Thanks to Micawber and Gazza.

  9. Miffypops
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    A true delight. 28 ac still to go. Will peep later if not sorted. Thanks to all concerned.

  10. Miffypops
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    Done. Mistakes corrected. Very enjoyable

  11. Heno
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 12:48 am | Permalink

    Thanks to Micawber and to Gazza for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, needed 6 hints to finish, which is not bad for me on a Toughie. Favourite was 1d. Was 4*/4* for me.

  12. Carroll Fountain
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    16d Steep is a verb. MarinaTe is a verb. MarinaDe is a noun!

    • gazza
      Posted January 23, 2014 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      Chambers also has marinade as a transitive verb meaning ‘to steep in a marinade’.

  13. Dave Hartley
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    I was a bit stressed by 23d, and the hint still didn’t help much. It had to be ether but why? The eventual realisation that it was an anaesthetic made me feel a bit numb. Spinner equals spin doctor equals spokesman took a while to

  14. Catnap
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Very jubbly! does not mean to say I found it easy. I did manage to complete the puzzle without hints. I am, however, very glad of your explanations now, Gazza. Although I had the answer, I simply couldn’t parse 15d. Now I can see it as clearly as daylight! That apart, I was on the right track.

    I liked many of the clues, especially 9a, 11a, 18a, 2d, 5d and 13d. Re 5d, like WhirredPlay and Miffypops, I also had ‘spiderman’ to begin with until I thought of bicycle wheels.

    Many thanks to Micawber for a lovely pouzzle, and many thanks to Gazza for invaluable explanations.

  15. Tstrummer
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Finally got round to this today from my stack of untouched toughies. What a delight. Nothing too hard and plenty of fun along the way. No hints needed either, but thanks for the analysis Gazza and to Micawber for making me feel cleverer than I am. 3*/4* for me